The Rad Power Bikes RadRover was one of the first purpose-built electric bikes to hit the market when it was launched in 2015, and a number of improvements have been added over the years.
The RadRover is still one of their bestsellers and with the introduction of the RadRover Step-Thru last year, the two RadRovers were able to serve an extremely wide range of driver sizes. This is not an easy task for full size thick tire e-bikes and Rad Power Bikes has proven that they are an extremely effective combination.
After a clearly busy year of socially distant bike hacking, Rad Power Bikes unveiled two completely redesigned builds of the RadRover and RadRover Step-Thru, called the RadRover 6 Plus and Rad Rover 6 Plus Step-Thru. The list of upgrades for the couple is staggering, starting with completely redesigned frame designs. The Rad Power Bikes team has brought some of the new RadRovers to Southern California so we can have a good time with us. We got obsessed with all the juicy details with Senior Product Manager Tom Mount, tried them out and were extremely impressed with the new RadRovers.
The aesthetics of the new RadRover 6 Plus and the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru were cleaned up straight away. They have a new paintwork, with a classy new anthracite sole color for the high-step. The step-thru comes in the same charcoal along with a crisp white. The anthracite color covers most of the frame with deep black accents that make the entire outfit shine.
The new frames were built around a new semi-integrated battery pack that bundles the same 672 Wh of high quality cells into a sleek new battery pack that is embedded in the frame’s down tube. It has a sleek new battery status indicator that gives you a closer look at the pack’s charge level without having to turn on the bike. The result is a much cleaner look in both the high-step and step-thru versions. Rad Power Bikes didn’t try to hide the battery, just clean up the bike’s design lines.
The new pack replaces the screwed-on batteries that were clamped on the down tube on the High-Step RadRover and in front of the seat tube on the Step-Thru RadRover. The result is a much cleaner looking frame and even a lower step height on the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru. This is a big win for smaller riders and makes the bike more accessible to a wider range of riders as it now supports riders from 5’2 “to 6’2”.
In addition to a more accessible headroom, Tom Mount told us that the head tube angle of the new RadRover has been weakened compared to the previous generation. The new angle pushes the front tire slightly forward compared to the previous design, making both wheels much more stable, resulting in a much more comfortable cruiser-like riding posture.
At the very top, Rad Power Bikes introduced a new dual display system on the new RadRovers that optimizes the bike’s user interface while adding a ton of new features. A display mounted in the middle houses the speedometer, the odometer, the power output and a multitude of new trip information. The travel information is now saved after the bike is turned off, so the rider can keep track of the travel time and distance over any duration. It is now much more of a fully functional on-board computer compared to the standardized display that came with previous generations.
Rad Power Bikes developed the new dual display system to optimize the rider’s overall riding experience and built it so that the right information is in the right place for e-bike riders. The new center display is complemented by a completely new control panel, which is located directly inside the left handle. Here the bike can be switched on and off, integrated lights switched and the pedal assistance turned up or down. Inside the keypad there is a simple display that shows the pedal assistance and the charge status of the battery. It’s not hard to imagine that this new display will replace the much simpler display of the RadRunner and RadMission in future builds.
Rad Power Bikes has been building its bikes with disc brakes for ages and is taking braking power to a completely new level with the new RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru. They have developed their own set of hydraulic brakes with ceramic pads that work together to provide vastly improved braking performance.
Hydraulic brakes eliminate the slushy brake feel of cable brakes and provide a firm brake feel that gives the driver much more control over braking force. Paired with the ceramic pads, the new brake set should offer a longer service life and less maintenance than their wired, mechanical counterparts. In our tests, they felt great and are adaptable to different hand sizes of the rider. A small thumb-operated bell has been added to give drivers extra safety and visibility while driving.
The new RadRovers show how much Rad Power Bikes has matured as a company in just a few years, as they have more component development in-house. They do this one component at a time to turn their vision for their bikes into a reality. The RadRover 6 Plus and the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru underline this new focus with the introduction of a brand new customer-specific gear hub motor.
The new rear hub motor offers the same output of 750 watts, but thanks to a complete reprogramming of the motor control by the in-house code freaks (engineers) from Rad Power Bikes, it is much more powerful than its predecessor in several ways. Rad Power Bikes boast a 25% faster ability to climb hills compared to the previous generation. This is a massive improvement that I know will make a huge difference to me as I live in a pretty steep area. In the short time we had with the new bike, we couldn’t put the claim to the test, but I was pleasantly surprised how it managed the lonely hill on our shortened test route.
The new RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru introduce a new segmentation of the Rad Power Bikes product line with the new “Plus” moniker. In the future, the plus bikes from Rad Power Bikes will have premium features such as hydraulic brakes and the 7-speed freewheel and the rear derailleur. Rad Power Bikes uses some hot orange stripes on the rims and frames of the new bikes to make them stand out from the crowd.
A quirky feature of the new RadRover family is a new USB accessory dongle. Two of these wired dongles can be connected to the front wiring harness, with the option of adding two more to a different port on the bottom of the seat tube. These can of course be used for everyday tasks such as charging phones via the built-in battery, but can also be used to turn on on-board lights, charge tables or even charge a laptop while driving. USB is the new standard power outlet and Rad Power Bikes has developed a solid platform for owners to expand this utility to their hearts’ content.
The new bikes are backwards compatible with the current generation of the existing Rad Power Bikes range of front and rear rack accessories. Can we make this a word? It should be one. Let’s just roll with it.
After reviewing the RadRover Step-Thru last year, I absolutely fell in love with the form factor and bought one for myself. It turned out to be an extremely powerful platform and I put tons of miles on it between other test bikes. With all the upgrades that Rad Power Bikes are bringing to the table with the new RadRovers, I’ll have a hard time not switching to one of these new bad boys.
The new RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step Thru are released today for $ 1,999 each on the Rad Power Bikes website. Head over to the RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus step-thru sites for all of the juicy startup details when they go live. We’ll come back for a more in-depth review of these motorcycles as soon as we get the chance to spend more time with them, so stay tuned for an article in the near future.
All images courtesy of Rad Power Bikes